Drivers of Lego vehicles have contacted Southend News Network to describe their ‘utter outrage’ after Southend Council painted double yellow lines between existing parking bays on Carlingford Drive in Westcliff – until now these gaps have been left clear so that drivers of very small vehicles have had somewhere to park without having to apply for a parking permit or buy a ticket. According to a council spokesperson, the ‘difficult decision’ was taken to paint the lines as there was a risk of a full-size vehicle driver taking legal action for discrimination.
Martin Click, 41, has been an outpatient at Southend Hospital ever since he moved to the area in 2003 – he needs to visit a clinic weekly to have his arms realigned, and until now he has been able to park his vehicle within a very short walking distance of the main buildings. He said: ‘I arrived in Carlingford Drive on Wednesday, at the same time as every other week for as long as I can remember, and I noticed that someone was painting yellow lines between the existing permit and ‘Pay and Display’ car parking bays. He wasn’t able to give me any information, but a passing Civil Enforcement Officer told me that miniature vehicles were no longer being allowed to park in unmarked areas of the road. I had to park in a regular space and purchase a ticket, and when I returned my vehicle had been crushed by a Volvo 4×4 who didn’t notice that I had already parked there.’
A spokesperson for the Southend Council Parking Department said: ‘We took legal advice on the matter beforehand, and it appears that a motorist who owns a normal vehicle could say that we are giving an unfair advantage to people driving vehicles of no more than six inches in length – therefore the decision to paint double yellow lines was taken to protect everyone concerned. We are aware that this is going to lead to a minor amount of inconvenience for some motorists, but at the same time they are more than welcome to pay for a normal parking space. While we are unable to offer a discount for legal reasons, we can supply some miniature road cones to warn other motorists that the space is taken.’
They also added: ‘If a Lego motorist can prove that they are part of a Lego set that resides within a child’s bedroom that falls inside the Hospital Parking Zone, we will also be more than happy to issue a residential permit – the usual procedure and application fees will apply.’